NPR logo Pro-Clinton Group Finds New Target: McCain


Pro-Clinton Group Finds New Target: McCain

A 527 group that backed Hillary Clinton and attacked Barack Obama in the Democratic primaries now pivots to target Republican John McCain.

The American Leadership Project (not to be confused with the newly visible anti-Obama group American Issues Project, or for that matter, the American Project on Leadership and Issues or the Project on Issues and American Leadership, both of which we just made up) is running a radio ad that sums up McCain's energy policy as "more money for Big Oil, more problems for us." It criticizes McCain's support for offshore drilling and tax breaks for oil companies.

English and Spanish versions of the ad are running in Colorado during the Democratic National Convention this week.

During the primaries, the group's pro-Clinton and anti-Obama ads were funded primarily by labor unions such as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ($2.2 million); the American Federation of Teachers ($400,000); and the International Union of Painters ($250,000), among others. The biggest individual donor was S. Daniel Abraham, the founder of Slim-Fast and a long-time Clinton supporter, who gave $100,000.

The group's president, political consultant Roger Salazar, previously was a spokesman for President Clinton, former California Gov. Gray Davis, and John Edwards' 2004 primary campaign.

During the primaries, the Obama campaign accused the group of violating election laws. Obama's campaign finance counsel compared ALP to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth — just about the worst thing one Democrat could say about another. But now, all may be forgiven. ALP's Web site urges voters to call Obama and "tell him to keep fighting for the issues that matter to the middle class," almost exactly what the American Leadership Project said of Clinton in its primary ads.

How times have changed.